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Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US)
Finance and Economics Discussion Series
The Effects of Unemployment Benefits on Unemployment and Labor Force Participation: Evidence from 35 Years of Benefits Extensions
Andrew Figura
Regis Barnichon
Abstract

This paper presents estimates of the effect of emergency and extended unemployment benefits (EEB) on the unemployment rate and the labor force participation rate using a data set containing information on individuals likely eligible and ineligible for EEB back to the late 1970s. To identify these estimates, we examine how exit rates from unemployment change across different points of the distribution of unemployment duration when EEB is and is not available, controlling for changes in labor demand and demographic characteristics. We find that EEB increased the unemployment rate by about one-third percentage point in the most recent recession but did not affect the participation rate. In previous recessions, the effect of EEB on the unemployment rate was even smaller.


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Andrew Figura & Regis Barnichon, The Effects of Unemployment Benefits on Unemployment and Labor Force Participation: Evidence from 35 Years of Benefits Extensions, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (US), Finance and Economics Discussion Series 2014-65, 13 Aug 2014.
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Keywords: Unemployment benefits extensions; unemployment rate; labor force participation rate
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